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Welcome to the Barwon Bluff

Welcome to the new website of the Friends of the Bluff and the Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary.

The Barwon Heads Bluff and surrounds is a special place. It is a place where the Barwon River (Wadarurrung: barwong), estuary enters the cool waters of Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean.

It is a place where wind, tides, and waves have shaped the coast over time and created a wide diversity of habitats for animals and plants to live.

To find an Elephant Snail hidden beneath a rock, to watch the Bull Kelp sway back and forth with the waves, or to explore the magic gardens in the rockpools, is a chance to both glimpse nature’s beauty and to also understand the importance of protecting our special places by the sea (Wadarurrung: warri), including the magnificent Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary.

Above the water both the Bluff itself and along the coast and river (Wadarurrung: yaluk) are dunes, saltmarshes, and Moonah woodlands that provide rich habitats for a diversity of terrestrial plants, birds, and other animals.

Explore this website to find out about these amazing habitats and diverse range of plants and animals that live here and that share our special place by the sea!

Explore Life on the Bluff

The Bluff and beyond is filled with life – on land, in the skies, and below the waves. From large seabirds to the smallest crab, there are many life forms to learn about.

Click on the buttons below to explore each part of the bluff. Each page features a selection of plants, animals and algae with images and descriptions to help you identify and learn more about the life Living on the Edge’ of the Barwon Bluff and beyond.


We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Wadawurrung People, the Traditional Custodians of Wadawurrung Country.

Wadawurrung Country encompasses land from the Great Dividing Range in the North to the Coast country in the south, from the Werribee river in the east, and along the Great Ocean Road in the west to Aireys Inlet.

We acknowledge their continuing care for the land, sky, and sea.

Wadawurrung people have walked this land for hundreds of generations, living with the land. The Traditional name for Barwon Bluff is Koloait, meaning ‘to the sea’, and was an important meeting and living place for the Wadawurrung people. Here, they gathered and feasted on shellfish, eels, and other seafoods. There were resources for weaving and crafting

Explore Habitats

Plants and animals occupy many different habitats around the dynamic Barwon Bluff, from high aloft the imposing limestone cliffs to the depths of the Marine Sanctuary.

There is the tussocky glare of dunes and the dabbled haunts of Moonah woodland.

The turbulent sweep of a Bass Strait beach, algae ringed rockpools, and the scrabble of basalt boulders.

There are the shifting sandflats of the Barwon estuary, cliff face crevices and outcrops, and subtidal ledges, gutters, overhangs and sweeping kelp forests.

All these wild places provide opportunities for plants and animals to forage, roost, grow, reproduce and thrive.

Discover the diversity of these remarkable habitats and the interactions of the flora and fauna that live there.

Learn and Explore

Learn and explore the wonders of the Bluff with our range of educational materials; from online activities including jigsaws, memory, quizzes and more.

Explore our virtual habitats, hear about some marine and environmental story books, download our educational packages for teachers and parents or guardians and more.

Teachers can find a range of resources linked to the Victorian Curriculum. Our educational section is not just for students though – anybody can learn and explore the wonders of the Bluff.

Drone footage by Steve Heather